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'Net Briefs & More - April 2013

Posted on 2.28.2013


According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, the social network’s Facebook Offers program has been catching on with consumers, as 42 million-plus users have already claimed deals. The service was met with some hesitation when the company announced that it would be encouraging businesses to run offers on the site, but if Sandberg’s statistics tell merchants anything, it is that this program may be worth the investment sooner than later. The COO revealed that ads delivered in the newsfeed (like offers) drive eight times more offline sales than display ads on the side of the page.

PaaS Out

Microsoft has finally announced the general availability of Windows Azure Media, a cloud-based service that provides scaling capabilities for streaming on-demand video to consumers on any device. This new Platform-as-a-Service (which works a lot like a Backend-as-a-Service solution) allows for video streaming to HTML5, Flash, Silverlight, Windows 8, iPad, iPhone, Android, Xbox and Windows Phone devices. Developers stand to especially benefit from this, as it helps them avoid the hassle of working with multiple media formats and encoding; now, Windows Azure will do a lot of that heavy lifting for them.

App Watch


iOS -
Monitor analytics on the go with the free Informly iOS application. The app enables users to view performance statistics from services including Google Analytics, MailChimp, Xero, Pingdom, Klout, PayPal, Campaign Monitor and more. To access the app, users must sign up for Informly on the Web and configure their account.

Foursquare for Business

iOS -
Android -

With more than 1 million businesses currently leveraging Foursquare’s location-based social network, it only made sense to launch a mobile application just for them. The free Foursquare for Business app allows social media managers to create updates to be shared on Foursquare, along with Facebook and Twitter if desired, but more importantly, the app enables users to manage multiple business profiles, turn specials on and off and monitor other data, such as recent check-ins.

Acquisitions & Milestones

Google Buys Channel Intelligence

Google continues to aggressively challenge Amazon’s dominance in e-commerce. Its recent $125 million acquisition of Channel Intelligence (part of the ICG Group) will likely mark an important turning point. The purchase works to align Google’s search and display businesses, with e-commerce being the bridge between those two revenue streams. This will be particularly true as the Web giant’s paid Product Listing Ads, released Fall 2012, experience greater adoption amongst retailers.

■ Yahoo purchased, a website that allows users to assemble and share collections of links and opinions on a topic of expertise.

■ Twitter has gone on a shopping spree with its recent acquisitions of Crashlytics, a crash-reporting solution for iOS apps, and Bluefin Labs, a social TV analytics company.

■ Restaurant reservation service OpenTable purchased Foodspotting, a mobile app that lets users record and share what they are eating.

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